The Memory Keeper's Daughter
The book starts in 1964 and spans 25 years, until 1989.
Phoebe was born in 1964, a twin to her brother Paul. But Phoebe was different - at her birth, her father, a doctor, immediately recognized the tell-tale signs of Down Syndrome, or mongloidism, as it was then called. Having grown up with a sibling with a chronic health condition, who had died at age 12, and thinking he couldn't possibly "put" his wife "through that", he made a decision which affected not only Phoebe's life, but also that of her twin, her mother and himself.
And so the book tells the story of a mother who never recovered from thinking her child died at birth, a father who never recovered from the decision he made, a marriage that never recovered from the deception and a twin brother who grew up knowing something was very wrong in his family. But it also tells the story of another family, one that, although not created by birth or biology, was everything a family was meant to be - strong and loving and supportive.
There's no "happy ending" in the traditional sense of the word but perhaps the author offers us something a little better, a little more believable ... a realistic ending. It's a good book, well worth the read.
A few weeks a go, I watched the movie, which I stumbled across in a clearance box of videos at the Superstore. The good news is that the movie mirrors the book very well, so you don't end up feeling betrayed by a movie that does little more than steal the book's title (note to movie makers - no, it is not okay to completley change the ending of a book). The bad news is that the movie skips large significant chunks of the book (no doubt due to the time element), which can leave you feeling a bit cheated. And which is why I would suggest that you might want to watch the movie first - that way you will get a good story, which is only made better by the longer, more complex narrative found in the book.
Justin Richardson & Mark Shuster (2004)
The second half of the book includes a list of the various human rights statutes across the country (each Province and the Federal government having enacted its own human rights legislation); an abridged collection of various Human Rights Commission policies, including both Alberta's and Ontario's 2002 policies on the duty to accommodate; and a list of Human Rights Commission publications by jurisdiction (unfortunately, none from Nova Scotia) related to disability.
One likely very appealing aspect of this book for non-lawyers will be that the text for each each chapter is quite short (perhaps no more than 4- 6 pages), with the the cites for any relevant case law (both court and Commission) listed as end notes at the end of the chapter. This means that the author must be both efficient and succinct in covering each point - no rambling on and on, examining the evolution of the case law, as many legal text books are wont to do (hence, their usual large size and heavy weight).
The only real "down side" I can find to this book is that although it definitely has a cross-Canada focus, the examples given and Human Rights Commission decisions referred to tend to be from New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and the Federal Commission - you will look long and hard to find a Nova Scotia reference.
That being said, certainly the majority of what's contained in the book should apply here and it should more than serve the purpose for which I am recommending it - to give the lay person a more basic understanding (and build on our previous discussion) of what the rights of a person with a disability are in the workplace (for before and after being hired).
Being a legal text, the book is available at the Nova Scotia Barristers' Library in Halifax (as set out below),as well as the NSSC AVC (Lawrencetown) and the NSCC Waterfront Campus.
Advising The Older Client
Ann Soden (2005) *